Saturday, October 28, 2017

Jackrabbits fall to Ricebirds but still have shot at playoffs

The Jackrabbits seniors wait to come out for the coin toss prior to their game with Stuttgart (Photo by Mark Buffalo)

By Mark Buffalo
Staff Writer

The Lonoke Jackrabbits play Riverview in the season finale Thursday night in Searcy. And despite a 46-6 loss to Stuttgart on Friday, the Jackrabbits still have plenty to play for against the Raiders.
Lonoke is 2-4 in 4A-2 play and still has a chance to make the Class 4A state playoffs with a win over the Raiders.
There are several scenarios that could get the Jackrabbits into the playoffs.
Riverview and Helena-West Helena Central are both 3-3 in league play. 
For the Jackrabbits to have any chance, they must beat the Raiders. The easiest way to get into the playoffs is for Lonoke to win and West Helena beat Heber Springs. That way, West Helena would be the fourth seed and Lonoke would be the fifth seed via a head-to-head win over Riveriew.
If Lonoke beats the Raiders and Heber Springs beats West Helena, it would go down to the point system. 
Each team is allowed up to 13 points for a victory in conference play for tie-breaking purposes. 
Right now, Riverview has 35 points, including nine for beating West Helena 35-26. The Cougars have 32 points. Lonoke, with its two conference wins, has 26 points. 
If there is a perfect triangle with Lonoke beating Riverview, Riverview beating West Helena and West Helena beating Lonoke, it would come down to the points system.
If Lonoke beats Riverview by seven or more points, i they would be tied with Riverview or have more points. Riverview would have 35 and West Helena would have 32. The two teams with the highest point total would be Lonoke and Riverview. And Lonoke would be the fourth seed because of their head-to-head win over Riverview. At that point, the head-to-head matchup with the next two teams would be Riverview since it beat West Helena and the Raiders would be the fifth seed and the Cougars would be eliminated.
If Lonoke beats Riverview by less than 7 points, the Jackrabbits would be eliminated from the playoffs because of the 6-0 loss to West Helena. 
In the loss to Stuttgart, Lonoke led 6-0.
Lonoke senior defensive end Tallon Swint sacked Stuttgart quarterback Tim Johnson, knocking the ball free. Lonoke’s E’Shaun Brown picked up the ball and returned it 67 yards for a touchdown with 9:24 left in the first quarter. The extra point was wide left.
Stuttgart then drove 53 yards in seven plays with Kirk Hughes scoring on a 7-yard run with 6:56 left in the first quarter. The extra point was no good, leaving the score tied at 6-6.
The Ricebirds took a 12-6 lead when David Walker scored on a 16-yard run with 7:09 left in the first half. From there, Stuttgart recovered two onside kicks to take a 25-6 lead with 5:31 left in the first half. 
Stuttgart led 32-6 at halftime. 
The Ricebirds added two second-half touchdowns to invoke the running clock with 10:56 left in the game. 
Lonoke quarterback Daniel Seigrist completed only 3 of 8 passes for 34 yards. 
Xavier Hodge led Lonoke with 59 yards rushing on 13 carries. Seigrist, Shawn Lake and Lexington Mays each had 33 yards. 
Michael Hodges led Lonoke with 11 tackles. Jackson Ward and Swint had seven tackles each. 
Lonoke’s game at Riverview on Thursday is set to kick off at 7 p.m.

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